GOP picks woman to shepherd abortion bill
WASHINGTON — Rep. Marsha Blackburn will replace Rep. Trent Franks to manage debate on a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after he questioned whether many pregnancies are caused by rape, said House Republican leadership aides.
The decision to replace Franks, an Arizona Republican, occurred a day after Democrats pounced on his comment in a House Judiciary Committee meeting that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy is very low.”
Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, will be floor manager for the bill when the House brings it up for a vote next week, said two aides who asked not to be identified to discuss a decision that hasn't been officially announced.
“Marsha would be a wonderful person to speak to it on the floor,” Franks said. “We do that many times where we have different people speaking to different bills. I think she would be a wonderful candidate for that.”
Franks declined to say whether Blackburn was the official choice. Still, the six-term lawmaker said he will play whatever role he is assigned.
“I'm a policy guy, I just want the right thing to happen and if there are better voices than mine, then bring them on,” Franks said.
Franks's measure, H.R. 1797, was approved on Wednesday by an all-male Republican majority in the House Judiciary Committee.
During the panel's debate, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California called Franks's remark “astonishing.” She said “the idea that the Republican men on this committee can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of rape is outrageous.”
The Judiciary Committee's 20-12 vote to approve the bill “provides the Democrats with an abundance of message opportunities to solidify their very strong position with female voters,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.
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